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Margie Peden delivers keynote on role of nurses in tackling the global injury epidemic

Nurses can play a key role in addressing the global injury epidemic, which kills five million people around the world every year, The George Institute for Global Health UK’s Senior Research Fellow Margie Peden told the 3rd Global Conference on Emergency Nursing & Trauma Care on 5th October.

Dr Peden, who was recently appointed Global Head of The George Institute’s injury research programme and also holds a position at the International Injury Research Unit at Johns Hopkins University, delivered a keynote presentation at the conference, which was held in Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands.

She highlighted that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), every six seconds, someone in the world dies from an injury – many of which could have been prevented. There are many well-known, evidence-based interventions to prevent injuries, such as the Save LIVES technical package published by WHO in 2017.

Most fatal injuries are the result of road traffic crashes, suicides, falls, and interpersonal violence. However, deaths are just the tip of the iceberg; Margie noted that there are almost 1 billion admissions or visits to hospital emergency departments across the globe for non-fatal injuries each year. Almost 1 in 20 of these injuries results in some form of disability, and the consequences of injuries stretch well beyond the physical - to mental consequences, behavioural changes, and other non-communicable diseases.

Margie highlighted that emergency nurses are on the frontline when it comes to treating injured patients. However, where patients are repeat attenders, brief interventions by nurses, such as conversations about risk factors, can help to prevent further incidents.

Nurses are often role models in communities, affording them other opportunities to support primary prevention. They can also play a broader role in advocating for changes in hospitals, the community and at home through identifying unsafe products, collaborating on injury prevention strategies and undertaking research, so becoming key collaborators in addressing this global problem.

Reflecting on the conference, Margie said:

“The conference was a hugely productive gathering of nurses interested in the development, delivery and innovation of not only secondary and tertiary trauma care, but also primary injury prevention activities. Following the recent announcement by the WHO Director-General that WHO will scale up its activities in this area and join forces with the Nursing Now campaign, the timing to push injury prevention research and activities with nurses is perfect.”

Professor Margaret Fry and Doctor Teri Reynolds also offered keynote presentations during the conference, addressing interventions and outcomes for older people, and WHO resources for emergency and trauma care.

To find out more about our global injury research programme, please visit: https://www.georgeinstitute.org/units/injury.